This week I chose the song ‘American Woman’ by Lenny Kravitz for the prompt about an American song by an American group. The only irony is that the song was originally written and performed by the Canadian band ‘The Guess Who’ in 1970.

I chose this song anyway, because Lenny Kravitz is from the USA. I love his song ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way,’ so I decided he deserved a spot on my blog too.

There is some debate about the meaning of the song. From Wikipedia:

The song’s lyrics have been the matter of debate, often interpreted as an attack on U.S. politics (especially the draft). Cummings, who composed the lyrics, said in 2013 that they had nothing to do with politics. “What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous. When I said ‘American woman, stay away from me,’ I really meant ‘Canadian woman, I prefer you.’ It was all a happy accident.”[12]

Jim Kale, the group’s bassist, explained his take on the lyrics:The popular misconception was that it was a chauvinistic tune, which was anything but the case. The fact was, we came from a very strait-laced, conservative, laid-back country, and all of a sudden, there we were in Chicago, Detroit, New York – all these horrendously large places with their big city problems. After that one particularly grinding tour, it was just a real treat to go home and see the girls we had grown up with. Also, the war was going on, and that was terribly unpopular. We didn’t have a draft system in Canada, and we were grateful for that. A lot of people called it anti-American, but it wasn’t really. We weren’t anti-anything. John Lennon once said that the meanings of all songs come after they are recorded. Someone else has to interpret them.[10]

Bachman expressed the view in 2014 that it was “an anti-war protest song”, explaining that when they came up with it on stage, the band and the audience had a problem with the Vietnam War. Said Bachman: “We had been touring the States. This was the late ’60s, one time at the US/Canada border in North Dakota they tried to draft us and send us to Vietnam. We were back in Canada, playing in the safety of Canada where the dance is full of draft dodgers who’ve all left the States”.[11]

Song Lyrics Sunday is a prompt by Jim Adams, other entries can be found here:


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